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Tech Wednesday, June 27th 2012 at 9:35 am

Cheating Robot Can Beat You at Rock-Paper-Scissors 100% of the Time

In a monumental act of hubris, someone has created a robot that can defeat humans in Rock-Paper-Scissors 100% of the time. You might expect that years of observational study and an enormous, highly accurate predictive algorithm were involved in this amazing feat. You’d be wrong. The robot is a cheater; a cheater with a high-speed camera and fast reflexes.

The robot’s creators at Ishikawa Oku Laboratory explain how it works:

Recognition of human hand can be performed at 1ms with a high-speed vision, and the position and the shape of the human hand are recognized. The wrist joint angle of the robot hand is controlled based on the position of the human hand. The vision recognizes one of rock, paper and scissors based on the shape of the human hand. After that, the robot hand plays one of rock, paper and scissors so as to beat the human being in 1ms.

Though extremely simple, the execution is so effective that the robot has a 100% win rate. Finding a way to actually beat the robot would be difficult, as the camera is probably fast enough to detect a mid-choice fake out (i.e., transitioning from one choice to another in midst of choosing; rock becoming paper, or something). Our only hope is to find a way to cheat better than the robot — maybe by unplugging it when no one is looking.

The robot’s creators say that this is a useful demonstration in robot-human interaction, and may one day help remove any latency between communicating with machines. However, I think it’s far more likely that the researchers just wanted to create something truly infuriating.

(via IEEE Spectrum)

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